Silly Question Friday: The Gold Edition

In the third part of Silly Question Friday, where the only silly questions are the ones you didn't ask, I cover your unknowns in relation to Geegeez Gold.

Parts 1 and 2 can be found here.

This is in a video format and covers, amongst other things:

- Tips on using the Tracker tool
- Things you can (and can't) do with Query Tool
- Geegeez Gold vs Proform
- How to use the ratings features
- How draw 'thirds' are calculated
- Overcoming small draw/pace sample sizes
- and much more

I hope you find something of value in it.

Matt

Draw Biases at Galway and Glorious Goodwood?

It's the eve of the two concurrent midsummer 'G' Festivals, Glorious Goodwood (as was. did you notice how inglorious the weather was once the name changed to the Qatar Goodwood Festival? Surely not coincidence!) on the rolling Sussex Downs, and the opening day of Galway's marathon week-long session in the west or Ireland. To emerge victorious from festival meetings at such quintessentially quirky configurations as these requires more than a 'mere' understanding of the form. Preparation for those serious about the week will start with an awareness of the layouts of the circuits and the implications on race shape.

Draw is rarely as simple - and occasionally not as complicated - as the pundits will tell you in their one line summaries. Let's review the courses.

These are Goodwood's helter-skelter pistes:

If you're confused, you'll not be alone. There is a tight right-hand loop, and a straight of a little shy of half a mile from which point the run in is pretty much all downhill - having been largely uphill to the turn.

Goodwood is a front-runner's track for a couple of reasons. Firstly, when horses get to the turn into the straight, they tend to fan wide, giving up ground, just at the moment the pacemaking railer is stealing a length or two. Secondly, horses held up for a later run often get caught in a pocket, with the far rail of the home straight cambering away from the grandstands.

Indeed, only one horse with an actual draw (i.e. number of stalls from the rail, after accounting for non-runners) higher than 13 in a mile handicap has managed to win at Goodwood since 2009. 107 tried. [Laa Rayb, the 2009 Totesport Mile winner, had an advertised draw of 15, but in fact broke 13 from the rail due to two non-runners inside him; it was Inside Story, from stall 16 of 16, who overcame the near impossible two months prior to Laa Rayb's more famous, but marginally less challenging, exploits].

The place to be, to a lesser or greater degree, is low and front rank, from seven furlongs to a mile. And yet... over nine furlongs, the bias shifts to high drawn horses who are waited with.

Wait. What?! How can the whole draw/pace bias be shifted on its head?

A theory, and only that, is that at this rarely raced intermediate distance - neither a mile nor a mile and a quarter - that starts with a stiff uphill climb, milers race too freely and run out of juice while ten furlong horses get outpaced before staying on late. As convoluted as it sounds, it may just be credible!

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In handicaps over ten furlongs, in fields of 14+ runners (the race type and field size used for all of the above commentary), there seems little to no bias. Here they travel uphill for slightly longer, then take the outer loop - with its sharp top bend - before freewheeling down five furlongs or so of home straight. There is more time for jockeys to manouevre their horses to where they want them, and it seems a fairer track.

Most of the rain forecast has now been deposited and the going remains good, good to firm in places, so the draw data above ought to largely hold up...

**

Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea in Galway, there is a race for every racehorse. The programme covers the whole gamut from two year old maidens to exposed handicap chasers. Of course, we'll focus our attention on the flat handicaps. The layout is a little more straightforward here: a little, though not a lot...

Shaped like a diamond, features of the mile and a quarter Galway oval are sharp turns, undulations, and a stiff uphill quarter-mile run to the finish line. There is a shortish run from the seven furlong start to the first of two bends, both of which require wider drawn runners to either take back and wait or risk conceding ground on the turns.

Here is a snapshot of how draw and pace impacts the ability of horses to make the frame in Galway 14+ runner seven furlong handicaps.Low strongly favoured over seven furlongs at Galway - handicaps, 14+ runners

Low strongly favoured over seven furlongs at Galway - handicaps, 14+ runners

And take a look at the draw and run style in combination for some real takeaways:

Correlation between draw and place chance; more pronounced, however, is the link between run style and post position

Correlation between draw and place chance; more pronounced, however, is the link between run style and post position

The first chart shows a fair linear correlation between stall position and ability to make the frame; but it is the heat map which interests more.

This is showing Actual vs Expected (see A/E in the dropdown top right). As you'll see on the right hand side, horses that can get to the front outperform market expectation regardless of stall position. We then have a gradation of colour from dark green (led) through amber (low mid div and middle prominent) to red (pretty much everything else). Except...

Look at the bottom left square - horses draw high and held up. On a reasonable sample of 66 runners (seven wins, 13 places) these waited-with types have fared a lot better than the betting public expected. This is most likely due to a perception that their draw cannot be overcome, which inflates the available odds. And, when there is too much pace on the front end, those ridden more patiently (and having to travel less wide due to the strung out nature of fields in such a context) can skulk through to pick up the pieces, granted the necessary fortune in running.

Also noteworthy is the lamentable performance of low drawn hold up horses. Such runners are 0 from 30, three places, in 14+ runner handicaps here since 2009. Those who race mid-pack are 1 from 85, 12 places (14% place rate), and can also generally be discounted.

Meanwhile, over a mile and half a furlong, the main note regards pace and hold up horses. The slow starters tend to be too late finishers, collectively recording a lamentable six wins from 216 runs in handicap fields of 14+. As you can see, it doesn't matter where they're berthed either. Alongside the 2.77% win strike rate is a 13% place record, so the message is clear: look elsewhere.

Horses which led, or were held up, were either exposed to battle too early or delivered too late, and are worth avoiding. Luck from mid-pack is needed over 1m 1/2f

Horses which were held up were generally delivered too late, and are worth avoiding. Luck from mid-pack is needed over 1m 1/2f

Keep these specific pointers in mind and you'll have a leg up on the vast majority of punters at next week's 'G' Festivals. And if you want this kind of intel for all flat courses, distances, goings, field sizes and race types, there is only one place to get it: Geegeez Gold's Draw Analyser Tool. If you're not a Gold subscriber, you can find out more about Draw Analyser, and the rest of our form book and tool kit, here.

Good luck!

Matt

[Originally posted on July 30th 2018]

Report Angles: How To Find Value Bets in Seconds

Report Angles is a very powerful element of Geegeez Gold. It enables users to see only those qualifiers from hand-picked reports they want to see, and it homes in on value bets time and time and time again.

In this short video, I show you what Report Angles is; how to set it up for the two main types of users ('find me a bet' and 'give me more detail on this race'); where to find the information; and a few tactics you can put to work for yourself.

I hope you like it.

Matt

Friday Punting Pointers, 5th July 2019

This week, rather than go through a single race, I've looked at some of the reports with a view to highlighting some potentially interesting runners.

This 'top down' approach can shine a light on horses with better chances than may be apparent from their form figures... and that normally means they are sent off at bigger prices!

It's a shorter video but I hope no less helpful from a general 'how to look at the racing' perspective.

Good luck!

Matt

 

Using Query Tool to find Heavy Ground Angles

It's been raining. Rather a lot. Those courses which have dodged the abandonment bullet are largely racing on heavy ground just now, and that presents a challenge for us punters because most horses have little or no form on such a testing surface.

So how do we mitigate for this? Plan A for most is to guess. Not ideal.

Plan A for Gold subscribers should be to do a little digging; and in this shortish video I'll show you a couple of ways - via Instant Expert and the Query Tool - to home in on those sires whose progeny might be worth marking up when the mud is flying.

 

Hope that's useful.

Matt

p.s. It's Royal Ascot next week - whoop! - and if you haven't yet secured your Gold subscription, you can take a £1 trial here (new users only, please). Alternatively you can access a short-term seven-day sub for just £12 by clicking here. Good luck!

Yes, Sire: The Top Royal Ascot Stallions

Every year during late June, Royal Ascot showcases the very best of British - and, increasingly, global - racing. As well as the heritage, the social aspects and the racing, opportunities abound for colts to advertise their worth as potential stallions when their track careers are over.

Curiously, perhaps, the leading Royal Ascot sire of recent generations never graced the meeting, though he did win the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at the course a few weeks later, in 2001. I refer, of course, to Galileo, who was between Derby victories at Epsom and the Curragh when the Berkshire jamboree was playing out.

Here's how the sire table stacks up since 2009 (ten renewals of Royal Ascot, and therefore 300 races in total):

Top Royal Ascot sires, 2009+

Top Royal Ascot sires, 2009+

 

Galileo

In the interests of completeness, it should be noted that prior to the start of the study period, Galileo was already on the scoreboard with a Queen's Vase winner - his inaugural Royal Ascot stallion strike - courtesy of Mahler in 2007, and a brace of Jim Bolger-trained fillies, Cuis Ghaire (Albany) and Lush Lashes (Coronation) in 2008.

Just a further Queen's Vase victor followed in the next two years before, in 2011, the racing world was set alight by a couple of colts who had met the year before on their respective racecourse debuts. The winner of that somewhat above average (cough) maiden was a chap called Frankel, and he was no more than a half length too good for a lad named Nathaniel.

Both Frankel (St James's Palace) and Nathaniel (King Edward VII) enhanced their burgeoning reputations with wins at the Royal meeting, the unbeaten-in-fourteen-lifetime former enduring the closest finish of his career (debut aside) when less than efficiently ridden to get the better of Zoffany.

The smart filly Maybe also prevailed in 2011, beating the boys in the Chesham, a juvenile race over seven furlongs.

A year later and Frankel was flying the flag for Galileo once more, this time in the straight mile Queen Anne, one of the most exhilarating performances I've ever had the privilege to witness in the flesh. Just a wow moment, even now.

At a slightly less rarefied altitude, Gatewood doubled Galileo's 2012 score in the Wolferton Stakes.

A blank in 2013 was followed by a single in 2014, Telescope bagging the Hardwicke for Sir Michael Stoute.

And then the floodgates opened. Royal Ascot 2015 witnessed a hat-trick for the pre-eminent stallion, courtesy of Curvy (Ribblesdale), Aloft (Queen's Vase) and, most notably one of this year's freshman sires, Gleneagles (St James's Palace).

In 2016, a nap hand was completed by Churchill (Chesham), Kinema (Duke of Edinburgh), Sir Isaac Newton (Wolferton), Sword Fighter (Queen's Vase) and Order of St George (Gold Cup).

Two years ago, it was another treble thanks to Idaho (Hardwicke), Winter (Coronation), and Highland Reel (Prince of Wales's); before a double last season in the Ribblesdale (Magic Wand) and, for a fifth time no less, the Queen's Vase (Kew Gardens).

Phew!

There are a couple of noteworthy sub-texts to the overall Galileo figaro's (sorry, couldn't resist).

Not many two-year-old Galileos are mature enough to race so early in the season but, from the eleven to do so in the last decade, two won (both in the seven furlong Chesham). [NB As mentioned above, Cuis Ghaire also won the six furlong Albany Stakes in 2008]

Aidan O'Brien has trained 94 of the 184 Royal Ascot Galileo runners since 2009, which is as close to half as doesn't matter. He's bagged 13 of the 20 wins, which is as close to two-thirds as doesn't matter. O'Brien has further backed that up with 37 of the 60 placed horses, again pretty close to two-thirds.

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The bad news for those of us who like to wager is that, no matter how you cut it, there's no profit to be had from this super sire... with one possible exception: Galileo has sired five winners of the Queen's Vase, four at the old two-mile trip and the most recent of the two at the reduced 1m6f range last year. Backing all Galileo progeny in the Queen's Vase would have netted a profit of 30.83 points on 22 bets. Alas, that is all down to a single winner, 33/1 Sword Fighter, and is thus a most unreliable angle for all that a far shorter-priced Galileo may again prevail next week.

 

The three D's

A mate of mine has a saying. In betting, he preaches, all you need is the three D's: discipline, discipline, and discipline. While that is a key factor, there is more to life than discipline, just as there is more to the Royal Ascot stallion roster than Galileo.

Here, the D's are Dubawi, Dansili and Danehill Dancer. Which is actually four D's now I think about it.

Dubawi

In any other era, Dubawi would have lorded it over his progenitor peer group in the way that 'the big G' does. Even in that one's considerable shadow, the Darley flag-bearer wields vast power. His 13 Royal Ascot winners in the past decade is second in the table, yielding a small profit for blind backers (who are these people?).

The battle lines between Coolmore and Darley have been drawn and repeatedly retraced over the past two decades. Evidence exists all over racing's landscape, none more so than in the microcosm of those skirmishes, Royal Ascot.

Dubawi's numerical deficit in terms of winners is mitigated somewhat by a higher winning strike rate. However, just a single Group 1 winner - Al Kazeem in the 2013 Prince Of Wales's Stakes - attests to the gulf in class between these captains of their industry.

 

Backing Dubawi progeny outside of the top grade is a no brainer 'in', and it would have yielded 12 winners from 79 bets for an SP profit of 28.63 points (circa 50 points at exchange prices). That said, last year's 1 from 16 (-10.5 points) would have dented confidence.

As an aside, we can see from the above that dodging Galileo's outside of Pattern class (1 win from 54 starters) looks a very smart strategy, his Royal runners seemingly either very good or, well, not very good.

Dansili

Dansili is perhaps a slightly less fashionable stallion, though clearly one capable of producing smart racehorses: the likes of The Fugue and especially Harbinger were capable of brilliance on their day. From a betting perspective, Dansili has more entries in the handicaps than the aforementioned super sires and that hurts his overall statistics.

Focusing only on Pattern runners, Dansili has eleven winners from 58 runners (+10.23). Again, though, he's 0 from 13 in the last three years, which tempers enthusiasm.

Danehill Dancer

And the D's are concluded by Danehill Dancer, whose strike rate of nearly 16% is impressive. He has very few runners now, having died in 2017 aged 24. Three interesting snippets are that his eleven winners in the past decade include three dual scorers (Qemah, Duntle and Forgotten Voice); seven of the wins were by fillies (Qemah and Duntle two each, plus Osaila, Lillie Langtry and Memory); and eight of the wins were at a mile.

 

More Recently...

Although the top sires have longevity, all around them fashions change almost from season to season. So it is worth homing in on a shorter time window, in this case the last five years, to see if any patterns are emerging.

King of the hill remains Galileo (14 wins), but Dubawi is joined in second place by Scat Daddy (seven wins apiece).

Again we're in double territory as both Lady Aurelia and Caravaggio notched twice for this very high strike rate stallion who sadly died in 2015, aged just 11.

Shamardal, whose team is headed by Blue Point, and Sea The Stars, captained by Stradivarius, are next best on five wins, with Frankel, Mastercraftsman, Zoffany and Invincible Spirit on four.

Those nine stallions were responsible for 54 of the 150 winners at the last five Royal Ascot festivals, from just 414 of the 2409 runners. That's 36% of the winners from 17% of the runners.

Leading Royal Ascot sires, 2014-2018

Leading Royal Ascot sires, 2014-2018

 

The least successful

It is always dangerous making predictions on the basis of small datasets but such is the lot of the punter. A horse has only a few (relatively) runs in its career, a stallion throws only a few Royal Ascot runners, and I've backed only a few Royal Ascot winners!

So, in spite of it making little sense to data philosophers like Taleb, we plough on in search of micro angles which may - just may - have some crumb of legitimacy (or luck, the outcome being the same) about them.

To that end, consider the case of Cape Cross, one of the finest stallions of his generation. Three winners in 2011 seemingly heralded the start of a glittering career at the Royal meeting. Another winner in each of the next two seasons kept the dream alive but, since 2014, it's been an unbroken run of defeats, 37 and counting for the Darley A-lister. In fairness, plenty were at huge prices and a couple did run second, but a place rate of 19% is some way below the level of most of those in the table above.

Other 'name' stallions on zero wins in the last five years include Mount Nelson (23 runners), Rock Of Gibraltar (19), Zebedee and Sir Percy (18 each), Tamayuz, Arcano, Azamour and Medicean (all 17), Lawman (16) and Dandy Man (15).

The quartet of Bahamian Bounty (14), Royal Applause (13), Pastoral Pursuits and Dream Ahead (10 each) have failed to record even a placed runner in the last five years.

Any of that might change next week but, on balance, it's better to be aware of such numbers than not. It might save us a quid or two.

 

The Last Word

Galileo is expected to retain his stranglehold on proceedings next week, though there will likely be little nourishment from a wagering viewpoint. Dubawi, especially outside of G1 class, is worth a look in spite of his clunker last year; and so too may be Mastercraftsman and Zoffany.

To add these to your Query Tool Angles, select:
DATE - Month: June (change 'to' date to 30th June 2029)
RACE - Course: Ascot
RUNNER - Sire: Dubawi, Mastercraftsman, Zoffany (plus any others you like the look of)

Next, click Generate Report. Then go to the ANGLES tab, enter a title (say, Royal Ascot Sires) and click 'Add Angle'. Voila!

As the five day entries come in you'll see potential runners in the Angles tab (when you've selected the appropriate angle); and then from the 48 hour declaration stage, you'll see qualifying runners listed both on your QT Angles report and behind the blue QT Angles numbers on the racecard. See the User Guide for more info.

Good luck!

Matt

Saturday Race Previews: Chester & Goodwood

The latest in a periodic feature designed to showcase various elements of the Geegeez Gold toolkit, as well as hopefully bag winner or three, I've run the rule over two races on Saturday. Both feature draw and pace biases which might help to shortlist the winner.

The Chester race has a positive bias while the Goodwood heat has a negative bias. Of course, horses do overcome biases but that is not generally the way to wager (unless the price vindicates the play).

Have a watch of the video and sharpen up your usage of the draw and pace tools in particular.

Matt

Punting Angles: Goodwood Racecourse

With the Goodwood May festival upon us it seems as good a time as any to apply a little focus to the Sussex track, writes Jon Shenton. The hope is we'll discover a few snippets of info along the way to boost our chances of a profit at the course over the rest of the summer and beyond.

Racing has been an integral part of Goodwood history since 1802. The track is synonymous with the Glorious Goodwood festival with its three Group 1 races taking a prominent position in the racing calendar. There’s much more to racing at the course than that shiny centrepiece, however, and there are plenty of other meetings and notable races to enjoy throughout the flat season.

As usual, let’s start with the training performances at the track.

Goodwood trainers

The table below shows the trainers who have high-quality records at Goodwood. The data within relate to runners with a maximum SP of 20/1, and are sorted by descending A/E and include all races from 2012 onwards. To qualify the yard must have had a minimum of 50 runners during the period.

 

For those of you who have been following these articles over the recent past, you may remember the Mark Johnston editions. I don’t want to trample over old ground but suffice to say Johnston handicappers who have had a recent run (last 25 days) are a serious proposition. Whilst this angle wasn’t as lucrative in 2018 as previous years the performance has been consistently impressive over time. Those are horses to keep on your side. A link to that article is here.

The other notable name to take from the trainer table is William Haggas. It’s the Impact Value of 2.52 which immediately draws the eye, especially on what is a healthy relative volume of runners. As you might expect with stats such as these there is a general all-round excellence contained within.  The only significant and justifiable enhancement I could establish is associated to the age restrictions of races.

The data show, amongst other things, that his record with 2yo's and in 4yo+ races is perfectly respectable. It isn’t, however, quite as sharp as the races containing horses aged 3. It’s low volume stuff though, with the place performance consistent across all  groupings indicating that I might be looking for something that is not there. As a result, I’m not convinced that there is an angle beyond keeping Haggas horses firmly in your cross-hairs at Goodwood.

Moving on, those yards which currently have less than desirable records at the track we get the following picture:

I was very surprised that Saeed bin Suroor is top (or bottom) of the pile with an A/E of just 0.52. Messrs Fahey, Varian, Hannon and Balding are all on the list too with Fahey’s runners returning a strike rate of a meagre 6.6%. Perhaps these yards are too proficient to stay on this cold list indefinitely and the cream will rise to the top in due course. Here and now, though, the numbers demand we proceed with caution.

To complete the trainer view, the table below contains the best trainers (in terms of A/E) for Goodwood during the month of May, perhaps offering a couple of clues for the next few days. Not that I’d advise anyone to back runners from these yards blindly but there are some impressive numbers in here, Roger Charlton most notably.  That said, there is a danger of the data reverting towards the mean based on such small volumes.

 

 

Jockeys

In terms of the pilots, the data below show all active riders with an A/E of greater than 1.00. William Buick probably has the stand-out record. Again, all round excellence means dedicated deeper focus angles are difficult to find.

The deadly duo of Norton and Fanning have a very close association to the Goodwood-friendly Johnston yard. Therefore, it would be reasonably logical to assume that their records could be attributable to the trainer connection. The intel below shows that whilst that is undoubtedly true, when they are jocked up on rides for other trainer, performance remains largely in line.

 

Whilst this may be of limited interest in isolation, I think it may lead towards a question of pace. In general, Fanning and Norton are considered to be enterprising riders at the front of a race. Perhaps they prosper at the track irrespective of who is employing them because of their propensity to effectively judge pace from the front? More on that shortly.

 

Straight track pointers

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As the course map below illustrates, Goodwood has a complex array of starting points, routes and undulations.  The least confusing element is perhaps the confirmation on the map that there is a straight track for races up to 6 furlongs in distance.

 

Before searching for clues on how best to tackle the straight course, it must be noted that analysing the factors of pace and draw (like I’m going to here) in a broad way is a challenge. There are several variables that need due consideration, field size and ground conditions being the primary drivers of variance in determining how the race unfolds from a pace and draw perspective.

Fields here can range from 2 to 20-something, and underfoot conditions obviously can vary meaning that many multiple permutations can exist. All the same, there is merit in attempting to decode the data.

 

Draw

First let's look at the draw.

Using the draw analyser tool in Geegeez Gold the table below shows the performance of horses, by draw segment and based on the number of runners in the race, using Impact Value. I’ve only analysed races with six or more runners and I've used the actual drawn position (i.e. accounting for the effect of non-runners) rather than the race card drawn number.

 

The data covers all race ground from Firm through to Soft.  As noted in the above paragraph going conditions can have a significant impact on draw stats. However, in the case of Goodwood it’s fair to assert that the numbers on display are reasonably representative of the whole spectrum of ground challenges faced by the animals.

Here is a graphical representation of the very same data.

 

I include this as I think it illustrates a clear picture: horses that are drawn in lower or middle stalls are far more likely to prevail than horses drawn in high stall numbers on average. This applies to all nearly all field sizes (apart from arguably in 8-10 runner fields where the delta appears marginal) and to both 5- and 6-furlong distances.

The red line (representing those animals with a high draw) deteriorates the larger the field in general terms, especially if the race comprises of 11 or more participants.

The highest drawn are stationed on the stand side rail, nearest the cameras, the numbers thus progressively moving lower towards the centre and beyond to the far side. Racing usually develops between the middle and that stand side rail as a few horses generally tack across in that direction.

A rail is often an asset to have nearby but for this track it appears to be far from the case. Let’s complement this with a sprinkling of pace data using the Pace Analyser tool in Geegeez Gold.

The table below is based on the same conditions as the draw data above:

 

It is perhaps unsurprising that being on the speed early is an advantage over the sprint distances.

Putting both pace and draw together you’d expect a low/middle draw with a prominent or front running run style to be optimal. We can validate this by checking the draw/pace heat map (in Geegeez' Draw Analyser).

This picture covers  5- and 6-furlong races, on Firm through to Soft where there is a field size of 9 through to 12.

Interestingly, it appears as though a high draw is acceptable if the horse can zip out of the gates and secure an early lead. It could be claimed, using this data, that pace is of more importance than draw. High drawn horses who get to the front are 1.43 times more likely to win than the average in spite of the ostensibly challenging stall position.

That makes sense: racing room can be at a premium at Goodwood and it’s very feasible that horses get boxed in, especially in a big field. Those high drawn animals can have nowhere to go if horses congregate and the race develops on or around that rail or side of the track. The jockeys starting their journey from the low and middle numbered stalls should have more options to avoid trouble in running; unless of course the field sizes are so large that the low numbered stalls are situated on the far side rail as in, for example, the Stewards' Cup.

A heat map taking account of field sizes of 14 or more confirms the thinking:

 

In large fields even prominent racers struggle to get the run of the race from a high stall position, probably due to the relative lack of options in running. Horses drawn low retain a degree of flexibility in how they approach the race and can win from off the pace. Now all that remains is to find the right horse that this might apply to on race day!

 

Round course and longer distances

The 7-furlong trip has just shy of a quarter of a mile from the stalls to a tight right-hand bend into the straight. Most races develop on the far rail, the opposite to the straight track races.

Again, early speed holds sway. Attaining good track position at the bend is clearly of primary importance. Evaluating the draw for the trip over seven using the graphical format (below) shows the significance of stall position.

Whilst it’s reasonable to say that low draws generally have an advantage it only appears to become a concerted one in double digit field sizes. In these larger fields low drawn speed merchants around the bend are very much of primary interest!

In smaller fields pace is still an advantage but, naturally enough, draw appears to be less relevant. Like the straight course, high draws are perfectly fine if you think your horse can get to the front early and control the fractions. In basic terms, if you can pick the leader early in the race consistently over seven furlongs at Goodwood you will have a strong hand to play over time. The same principles apply over the mile too.

 

Distances greater than a mile

The races between nine furlongs and two miles are represented from a pace angle in the data presented below. There is perhaps a marginal preference for front running speed in general apart from the shorter relative distances (9 & 10f) where early speed is a significant advantage.

It’s repeating the same message: the major takeaway from the data is the reinforced view that it is  difficult for hold up horses to win in larger fields.  That makes perfect sense given the tight and undulating nature of a track where hard luck stories seem commonplace. Let’s hope that you’re not on  one that falls out of the stalls!

 

That’s it for another edition, I hope you find things of interest in the above and I’ll certainly be watching Goodwood races with a keener eye than usual over the next few days and months. Good luck!

- Jon Shenton

New Gold Features: Rate a Race, Pace Average

We've added some new features to Geegeez Gold, and updated some existing ones. The video below explains all, but here is a brief summary of what's new:

- Added Weight For Age (WFA) consideration to ratings calculations (and updated existing ratings to reflect the WFA scale)

- Added the ability to rate a race, and to price it up, from within the card

- Published user ratings within the inline form on the racecard

- Added option to view pace maps based on last 2, 3 or 4 races

 

Check out this short video which demonstrates the new features...

Victoria Cup Handicap 2019: Video Preview

In this week's Geegeez Gold video showcase, I attempt to deconstruct the 27-runner Victoria Cup handicap at Ascot. Using a variety of tools in the Gold kit bag, I land on two horses which look to have robust each way prospects. Grab a glass/cup of something tasty, and click the video box below to tune in...

[Naturally, if you like what you see, you might want to JOIN GEEGEEZ GOLD]

Geegeez Gold Race Previews: 3rd May 2019

In the first in an occasional series, I reviewed two races - one in more detail than the other - to showcase the use of Geegeez Gold form tools.

It features hints on how to deploy draw, pace and draw/pace combinations to shortlist areas of the field on which to focus; some perils to avoid with Instant Expert; and the use of trainer form to establish whether a horse is value or not.

Brew up and tune in!

 

And, of course, if you're not a Gold subscriber yet - whaaaaaat?!!! 😉 - you can put that right by clicking the banner below.

Good luck!

Matt

A bit of a round up…

It seems like ages since I've had a chance to put digits to keyboard and present something on here. The usual spiralling demands of life that so many of us have are to blame; though in truth most of those 'demands' fit more squarely into the pleasure bucket than the chore pail. Anyway, in this eclectic catch up, I've a few thoughts on a number of somethings and nothings really: no earth-shattering news, just some parish notes and the like.

Feature updates

As you may know, we recently introduced some feature updates. Things like IV3 and Instant Expert inline are small (but perfectly formed) enhancements to existing features. More on them here if you missed the bulletin. The bigger part of that release was given over to a new feature, however, which is the ability for users to add your own notes and, particularly, ratings.

It was always the intention to introduce the baseline content and then to respond to you, our wonderful readers and subscribers, with the finessing. And so, in addition to what is there now, we are currently working on adding a few options which allow users to include or exclude jockey allowances, weight for age, and weight generally.

When I pulled on the thread of ratings functionality I suspected there would be a range of somewhat niche requirements in the space, and I'm happy to accommodate those that can be justified in terms of the development effort and their broader utility. Please do keep your suggestions coming in!

 

What next?

The Gold development work stack is constantly evolving. For every item ticked off another one or two seem to get added. That's not a problem at all, it just means priority decisions have to be made and not everything will ultimately happen. We also have a couple of major infrastructure projects in train at the moment - things which underpin everything you see and do with the site - and those cannot be taken lightly for obvious reasons.

However, we'll continue to develop and these are the things you're likely to see next - within the next six months - as part of Geegeez Gold:

- Ability to produce pace maps based on a field's last two, three or (as currently) four runs

- Addition of Betfair SP data

- QT Upgrades to include last run and second last run variables

- Addition of a range of new data elements

- A raft of smaller additions and enhancements

I need to be careful about over-promising, and the reality is that the QT upgrades should have been live some time ago but require a resource who is currently neck deep in the aforementioned major infrastructure work. Until that is complete, QT evolution is on pause.

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Racing Today

For a Wednesday, today's fare is outstanding and genuinely has something for just about everyone. They race from midday until after 8pm; in Britain and in Ireland; on the fibresand and on the turf; on the flat and over jumps; from five furlongs to over three miles; and from Grade 1 to Class 6. Nice!

Today sees the first of a handful of trial lunchtime meetings: Southwell kicks off at 12pm and the Place 6 will be nearly won by the time the afternoon action gets underway. I'll be getting stuck into plenty of it after a few days without a bet (two SotD losers aside, sigh).

And those of you who like to take a piece of the syndicate action will find something to join later on. To be brutally honest, last week was rubbish. Changing of the seasons and all that, but I was unable to - as the crass vernacular goes - find my own fundament with both hands... Expecting it to be better today.

The syndicates are via Colossus Bets, and if you're still not familiar with them, you can check them out here. New customers get their first 72 hours' stakes matched up to £100 in bonus play, which essentially means you can stake as much as £200 for the cost of £100. As always, please do check the terms and conditions and see if it works for you. I'm a big advocate of Colossus, as regular readers will know.

Elsewhere and there are three Grade 1's at Punchestown. It's a very difficult meeting for me, as the finishing order of the same horses under the same conditions from Cheltenham or Aintree seems to perennially reshuffle. Perhaps the way to play is simply to select one of the beaten horses at a price!

But there are also plenty of sprint handicaps with exposed form to look at; this is an area I'll be personally focusing on in the early to middle part of the season. Using the filters at the top of the racecard menu is a great way to find the specific races you might be interested in playing. In the example image below, I've selected 5f to 6f, handicaps only. Easy as that. To see all races again, just hit the little 'reset' link beneath the search box. Simple dimple.

 

Race Walkthroughs

You may or may not have known about the race filter options in the image above. You may or may not know about any number of other little bells and whistles within the Gold tools and cards. It's my job to ensure that you are aware of anything which may help you in your quest for fun and profit from your horse racing engagement!

To that end, we have the User Guide and some really solid video tutorial content on your My Geegeez page. If you haven't checked those out, you ARE missing out, I promise you.

But, on top of that, I am going to try to do a race walkthrough once a week. It'll either be video (most often) or screenshots and text, and it will start this week on Friday. I hope they'll bring some of what we've got to life and, who knows, maybe even flag a decent winner or two along the way.

 

A Syndicate Horse for the Flat

Talking of Friday, I'll be bound for Newmarket with the intention of acquiring a horse to run on the flat from the Tattersalls Horses in Training sale. I've agreed a shortlist to look at and potentially bid for, and I've identified a (new) trainer to condition the horse should we land one. Without giving the game away, he is based in a location convenient for many and has an excellent record with horses acquired from other yards.

My plan is to syndicate into ten shares and to hopefully enjoy some summer days/nights out on the flat with a shared runner.

I'll reveal more as and when I can, but I'm excited about some of the possibles on the list - if one can be secured for what I feel is the right price.

 

Bettors' Survey

Back in October last year, the Horseracing Bettors Forum, of which I am currently the Chair, invited responses to a survey on a wide-ranging set of racing and betting related issues. More than a thousand punters completed the survey - including many geegeez.co.uk readers - and the results were published yesterday in a 110 page report.

Now, you may or may not have the appetite for that sort of deep digest; regardless, you'll find a skim summary at this page, and a slightly longer summary in the front of the actual report. If you're interested in the state of betting in Britain today, I'd certainly encourage you to take a look. The skim summary is a two minute read, the longer 'in report' summary is a five to seven minute read, and the full report is an hour job.

Check it out here, and see if you agree with its findings

 

That's all for now. Plenty to get your teeth into on site right now and coming soon. Tomorrow, I hope to have Jon Shenton's next insightful analysis, which is the first in what may be a series around racecourses: it's bound to be very interesting. Then on Friday I'll share the promised race walkthrough; and perhaps next week I'll have news of a new recruit to the horse syndicate team.

Stay tuned!

Matt

BIG New Additions to Geegeez Gold

I'm really pleased and excited to be able to announce some significant upgrades to Geegeez Gold today. They are:

  • User notes and ratings
  • Instant Expert inline form, and 'select a rating'
  • *IV3* Draw feature

The video below demonstrates how they work and, below that, I've copied sections from the User Guide for those who prefer to read rather than watch/listen.

I'm already using the new features myself every day and I'm sure many of you will soon find them as indispensable as I do.

 

Here are the relevant User Guide sections...

Instant Expert Inline Form

As of April 2019, users may now select a particular form ‘block’ with a click or tap and view the related form lines.

For example, clicking anywhere in the ‘[2][2][100]’ Course block for Flying Verse opens an inline block with that horse’s two course runs in the selected context. The chosen block is highlighted.

Click the block again to close the inline form, or select another block to view further form.

IV3 Data

Introduced in April 2019 is IV3. IV3 stands for Impact Value 3, and is simply an average of a stall and its nearest neighbours. For instance, the IV3 of stall six would be the average IV of stalls 5, 6 and 7.

N.B. Stall 1 is calculated as the average IV of stalls 1 and 2, as is the highest stall.

This simple calculation helps to smooth the curve on our draw charts and isolate genuine biases, as in this example:

 

User Ratings and Notes

A major new addition in April 2019 is the ability for users to add notes and up to two ratings per horse performance.

Ratings Setup

Before adding ratings, many users will elect to create scales which enable auto-calculation. These are simply pounds-per-length calculations based on distance and optionally going. This is undertaken via the My Ratings Settings page, found in the Notes & Ratings dropdown on My Geegeez.

My Ratings Settings

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The My Ratings Settings page looks like this:

Each of the blocks represents a different combination of race code and going range. These are the default settings, and ratings are calculated based on the priority sequence of the blocks (in case of overlap between race code/going range).

Users are able to add or remove blocks using the buttons; re-sequence the blocks by dragging and dropping them; and also to restore the defaults.

Once any setting revisions have been saved, ratings for beaten horses will be calculated automatically based on these settings and the winner’s given rating.

 

Adding Notes and Ratings

Notes and ratings are added from within a race result. The default layout is for the functionality to be hidden. Clicking ‘Show Ratings’ to display the ratings features.

Once ‘Show Ratings’ has been clicked, the page re-formats as follows:

Adding Notes

Notes may be added at the MEETING, RACE or HORSE level. Notes are auto-saved when a user clicks elsewhere on the page, but it is strongly recommended to use the ‘SAVE’ buttons provided.

Adding Ratings

To add a rating, enter the winner’s figure into the box Rating 1. The Lbs/Length box is pre-populated based on the Rating Settings page data but may be over-written if required.

By default, R1 and R2 are both checked, which allows a user to create two ratings at the same time. However, the ratings would be calculated using the same Lbs/Length scale. If, for example, R1 was a form-based rating and R2 was a time-based rating, a user may want to use different figures for the winners but have the beaten horses’ figures calculated from the same Lbs/Length scale.

If a different scale is required, the user must uncheck R2 whilst producing the R1 ratings; and then uncheck R1 (and check R2) to produce the R2 ratings. Most users will only produce one set of ratings.

Once the winner’s rating has been entered and the CALCULATE button pressed, the beaten horse’s figures are automatically calculated. Click ‘SAVE RATINGS’ to save.

Viewing Notes and Ratings

Notes and ratings may be viewed within the Full Form tab. Ratings are displayed on the right-hand side. N.B. Users must opt to display the ratings from the My Racecard Options section on the My Geegeez page.

 

Notes are displayed by hovering over elements of the form line, as follows:

Datemeeting note

Race / Conditionsrace note

Race Outcomehorse note

Exporting Notes and Ratings

Users may export any generated notes and ratings content to csv from the My Geegeez page. Select the ‘Notes & Ratings’ section, and then click DOWNLOAD CSV.

**

For the lowdown on all features inside Geegeez Gold, check out the latest edition of the User Guide which can be found on your My Geegeez page.

And if you're not currently a subscriber to Geegeez Gold, you can take a 30 day trial for just £1 by clicking here.

Matt

Bet Tracker: Quick Video Update

We've been overwhelmed - in a good way! - by the amount of feedback we've received on Bet Tracker since it went live yesterday. It is clear that this is going to be a hugely popular addition to the Gold offering. Equally, it became clear that there were a few issuettes which needed ironing out and, with your help, we've isolated them and are on the case in fixing them.

Moreover, there have been a few commonly asked questions, so in the short video - less than ten minutes, which is whirlwind for motormouth here - I've answered them; and I also show you what we're fixing now and what will have to wait until a subsequent phase.

Plus there are TWO NEW FEATURES in this release. Woohoo! 🙂

Click the video below to watch / listen... and thanks again for your engagement with this cool new tool.

p.s. User Guide is also updated, click here and see page 94.

 

 

Matt

Geegeez Gold: Introducing Bet Tracker and New Ratings

In today's video post, I'm delighted to share with you TWO brand new features we've added to Geegeez Gold. Like everything else in your Gold subscription, both are designed to assist you in making your betting more fun and more profitable; and, also like everything else in Gold, we've tried to make them as configurable and user-friendly as possible.

So, what are these new features?

Bet Tracker

The Bet Tracker has been in development for a little while now and I'm really excited to share a 'beta' version within the live Gold service. Beta means there might be a few bugs we've missed and, with your help, we'll get those ironed out as soon as possible. Having said that, for a major new feature, I think - at least I really hope - it's in pretty good shape.

So what is Bet Tracker? It's an unobtrusive means of recording your daily betting activity and subsequently monitoring your performance. As the video below demonstrates, you'll be able to drill down into your overall racing betting to see where you're most effective and, just as importantly, where you're losing more than perhaps you ought to be. You can review your history by course, distance, field size, trainer, jockey, race code, handicap or not, race class and more besides.

Bet Tracker can be accessed from the Tools menu, or by clicking this link.

More details are available in the User Guide, downloadable from your My Geegeez page.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Watch this shortish video to discover more about our brand new feature, Bet Tracker:

 

Bet tracker software is selling for £100 a year - that was the first result I saw in a google search - but you get it bundled with your Gold subscription. And this is just Phase 1. In future, we plan to add Betfair SP functionality as well as more analysis variables and output options. For now, though, I hope you like the Geegeez Gold Bet Tracker.

*

 

Two New Ratings

Establishing how good a horse is can be a most subjective matter. Collateral form and official ratings help, of course, as on Geegeez Gold do Peter May's SR figures. To those, I'm pleased to be able to share with you two further sets of ratings, provided by Racing Post. They are Racing Post Ratings and Topspeed ratings.

Both of these sets of numbers, as well as OR and SR, can be switched on or off to suit your personal preferences. The short video below reveals (and hides!) all.

 

For those of you who like ratings, I hope this is something you'll find valuable as part of your Gold subscription.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE A 30 DAY TRIAL OF GEEGEEZ GOLD FOR JUST £1

Matt

Your first 30 days for just £1

Your first 30 days for just £1